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"It's about creating connections through flavours"
Thursday, 23 November, 2023, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Aanchal Chaudhary, Mumbai
Chef Siddharth Parab is a dedicated and accomplished head chef known for his professionalism and innovative culinary skills. His impressive journey includes roles as Executive Chef at Spiceklub USA, where he introduced Molecular Gastronomy to Indian cuisine. He also served as Executive Chef at Lodha The World Tower, consistently delivering innovative and high-quality cuisine, managing kitchen operations and training staff.

Parab's expertise extends to roles at Kaitlyan Beer Garden, Burn Kitchen & Malt Room, and Smaaash Entertainment Pvt. Ltd, showcasing strong leadership, menu development, and kitchen management skills.

When asked about what inspired him to pursue a career in culinary arts, he said, "Well, you know, when I was just a kid, my maternal uncle used to work at the Oberoi hotel, which is like a giant in the industry. Every Diwali season, he'd take me there for family gatherings. Imagine a place where you can call all your friends and family for a grand feast! The magic happened in the kitchens. Seeing chefs creating these culinary wonders live, right in front of me, was mesmerising. It was during those moments, surrounded by the aromas of delicious food, that I decided this is where I belong – in the culinary world."

Parab's insights on the role of cultural diversity in influencing his culinary creations, "Food is not just about taste; it's a way people stay connected to their roots. It's a story, a journey. Embracing cultural diversity in my dishes is like weaving these diverse stories into the very fabric of my creations. Sure, it's challenging, but every challenge is a learning opportunity. It's about creating connections through flavours."

He shared some of his popular dishes, and what makes them stand out, "Oh, we've got some stunners on the menu! Take, for instance, the ravioli with pav-bhaji mousse – a fusion that surprises and delights. Then there's the flaming chocolate ball, the chocolate cigar, lamb ghee roast, and those lip-smacking cranberry pork ribs. What makes them stand out is not just the taste but the unexpected combinations and the visual spectacle that accompanies each dish."

His greatest strengths as a chef, "You see, in this bustling world of the kitchen, my greatest strengths are staying calm under intense pressure, planning meticulously, and being organised to the tee. These qualities are my secret sauce to ensure that, no matter what, the quality of our creations remains uncompromised."

When asked about how he stays updated with the latest trends and techniques in the culinary industry, he said, "Ah, the ever-evolving world of culinary arts! I stay in the loop through a mix of social media, devouring books, and keeping an eye on global inspirations. But you know what really gets me excited? Food expos! There's nothing like being there, seeing, touching, and tasting the latest trends and techniques. It's like a playground for a chef's imagination."

His experience where he had to adapt quickly to unexpected changes in a kitchen setting, he shared, "Picture this: We're opening a restaurant in Bandra, space is tight, and we need a walk-in cooler. Now, the challenge is real. With a limited footprint, I collaborated with the kitchen planner, walked the space, and voila! We creatively set up a cooler that not only fit but served our menu requirements perfectly. Adaptability is the key in the kitchen."

When asked about how does he foster creativity among his kitchen staff to encourage new ideas and dishes, Parab explained, "Every six months, it's like a mini-revolution in our kitchen. We change the menu, introduce weekly specials, and here's the kicker – we encourage our team to become culinary artists! They bring in their unique recipes, and the best ones become daily specials. Imagine seeing your creation on the menu with your name next to it – it's a proud moment."

On who played an important role in his success, he said, "Family, hands down. They've been my constant support. Whether it's cheering me on during the long hours or being there for the celebrations, their support has been the backbone of my success."

His future goals and aspirations as a chef, "Ah, the dream! I've got this vision of opening my own restaurant. And it's not just any restaurant – it's going to showcase the flavours of my roots, the Malvani cuisine from the west coast of Maharashtra. It's about taking people on a culinary journey through my heritage."

Parab's advice would for aspiring chefs looking to make a mark in the culinary world, "Here's the scoop: Learn everything you can, read voraciously, and don't be afraid to try new things. Stay updated, focus on your goals, and don't fear failure. Remember, we learn from our mistakes. Work hard, stay dedicated, and success will follow. It's a journey, not a sprint. Enjoy every moment in the kitchen, and you'll carve your mark in this delicious world."
 
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